Shane Buechele is no Vince Young. The sophomore quarterback isn’t accustomed to making plays on the ground for his team, nor should he be expected to. That’s why Buechele’s 15 carries from Texas’ opener against Maryland is a cause for concern. The team needs to get him back into his comfort zone and away from doing the things he simply cannot do.
Three quarterbacks were used in San Jose State’s first two games this season. Sophomore Josh Love started each matchup, but it’s clear the Spartans are still searching for their preferred play caller. Texas gets the edge for that
Advantage: San Jose State
Long gone is the brilliance and brute strength of last season’s D’onta Foreman. This became painfully apparent against Maryland as Texas earned a measly 52 yards on the ground from its two running backs on 14 carries — one less attempt than the team’s nonrunning quarterback. If Texas truly wants to turn the corner as a program, it must find a way to establish a ground game.
San Jose State is returning dynamic rusher junior Malike Roberson, who earned 508 yards and two touchdowns last season. If the Spartans are able to get Roberson going early like Maryland did with Ty Johnson, Texas fans may be in for another
Texas’ wide receivers looked like the best part of the team in week one. Sophomore Colin Johnson netted 125 yards and freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps added 69 more as they desperately tried to keep the Longhorns in the game. The weapons are there — it’s just a question of whether Buechele can find them.
San Jose State boasts a number of playmakers at the wide receiver position. Redshirt junior Justin Holmes earned 613 yards on 39 receptions last season, and fellow redshirt junior Tre Hartley notched 572 more, including a team-high four touchdowns. Texas has the edge, but only slightly.
The advantage to Texas is less of a testament to the team’s improved offensive line as much as it is a note of the dismal condition of San Jose State’s.
The spartans allowed a nation-worst 50 sacks last season, sitting one behind the Longhorns’ week one opponent Maryland. Though marginally better this year, Texas’ defense is going to look like No. 1 Alabama going up against this Spartan line.
While Maryland’s Ty Johnson is a certified powerhouse, Texas’ defensive line still looked uncoordinated and unprepared against Maryland. Expect to see a more focused effort this time around.
The Spartans have struggled historically at stopping the run game. Fortunately for them, Texas offers no run game to stop. If Kyle Porter and company can’t get going against a defense that ranked No. 122 nationally last season in rushing yards allowed, Texas fans might as well give up on this season as well.
Malik Jefferson had a quiet start to the season against Maryland, but the junior is still one of the better parts of the Texas defense. Expect him to come out strong against a significantly weaker Spartan offensive line.
Frank Ginda is in his third season with the Spartans — two of those as a starter. While being an all-around solid player, he lacks the explosive playmaking ability of Jefferson at the same position.
An early pick-six against Maryland showed just what Texas’ backs are capable of when the defensive line is able to hold and the team is communicating effectively. If the Longhorns lose, it won’t be from deep shots downfield.
San Jose State is bringing back four starters to a secondary which ranked No. 19 in the nation in pass defense last season. If Texas’ ground game stalls as much as it did week one, the Longhorns may struggle to generate clean looks offensively.
Advantage: San Jose State
Texas fans groaned in unison as Maryland blocked a punt and returned it 71 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, only to watch junior cornerback Holton Hill do the same thing to the Terrapins 10 minutes later. You can be sure the Longhorn coaching staff will pay extra attention to its special teams leading up to the second game.
The Spartans meanwhile retain a solid special teams unit from last season. Junior kicker Bryce Crawford hits everything inside of 40 yards, while senior punter Michael Carrizosa boasts strong punting and kickoff numbers. Carrizosa averaged 44.3 yards on punts and a 69 percent touchback rate. San Jose State’s returns leave much to be desired, but the special teams is rocksteady as a whole.